It's been a while since I really thought about being an older parent. This morning, after I showered, I was lying on the bed relaxing before Noah woke up and it just sort of came to mind. Poor Noah sort of has a double whammy - not only are Nerdstar and I older than most parents, but he's also an only child. The last thing we would ever want for Noah is to be lonely in life.
Now, I have every intention of living at least another 45 years, and hope Nerdstar does, too! But our backup plan is for Noah to find a really, really good wife. That means we have to raise a really, really good man to find and keep a good wife. And that means we have to be really good parents. Funny how that works.
It's been a long, full, fun, frustrating five weeks.
Five weeks ago, Nerdstar lost her job. I was ready to pack up the house, put it on the market, and head on down to whichever city in Texas and start over. Nerdstar, not quite as ready.
Because she was getting paid to not work for three weeks, and then cash out almost 100 hours of leave, we decided to take that time and see what happened. She had a couple of local jobs that might come through. It would also give her some time to talk to a few people and see if there was anything for her job-wise down in Texas.
On the last day of her paid three weeks, she got the official job offer here in northern Virginia. Slightly higher pay than her last job, but back to a stupid commute.
We decided the job here in NOVA would be a good thing. It buys us time. Time to look more into things in Texas. And it would also allow us to buy a house down in Texas before having a job down there. (more on that coming up)
Anyway. Noah and I have been lucky enough to have Nerdstar home with us for these few weeks. I'm not sure it was exactly a vacation for either one of us. Noah has so much more energy with her, and bosses her around so much more! Some days it was nice taking a back seat and letting her handle things. Other days it just felt like I had two kids.
One cool thing was that Nerdstar's sister was already planning a visit for Memorial Day weekend, so she had time for that.
This also allowed me to go to a nearby casino and play some poker. I got lucky (and played decently) and doubled my money in a couple of hours. I then took a hundred of that and played craps for all of ten minutes and walked away with $240. I love to play a $5 12 - which means the next roll of the dice will be a 12 and it pays 30X your bet - $150 on $5. Yep, I hit it!
We decided to go ahead and take a little vacation down to Texas before the new job started. Noah needed some family time and we needed some of our favorite foods. The money I won at the casino was our spending money and it lasted 90% of the trip!
The trip to Texas was crazy in that it sort of changed our positions on moving to Texas. It made me a little more cautious and Nerdstar a little more ready. But for now I think that's another post.
Those darn slippery slopes. Nerdstar's sister gave her a kindle for her b-day. It's cool, but we don't really need it for web surfing or anything and so far haven't had time to load or read any books on it.
Noah's speech therapist has some learning apps on her iPad and will let Noah play one or two at the end of their sessions. We loaded one of those apps for Noah on the kindle to use when we go out to eat at "real" restaurants. It works like a champ. But, we used it a bit much on vacation.
This evening Noah wanted to play his app while watching his cartoons. I guess at least he can multi-task. He has his snacks, juice, app and cartoon.
Nerdstar and I have always traveled a lot. Before Iraq, we'd go to Vegas once a year. Before and since we've done tons of road trips - covering most of the US. We're not club people, or drinking and dancing people. But we like to gamble, to eat good food, to maybe hear some music, walk around new towns and people watch. I'd have to say other than our big road trips, my favorite trip was when I got to meet up with her in Tokyo for a few days.
Now, we have Noah. And for these few years of him being young, it's really changed how we think of vacations.
Thankfully, he travels really well. He loves buses and trains and escalators and elevators. He loves hotels and the big beds. He loves people and car watching. He loves running around where ever he is. He does well in a car for day trips.
On this trip, thankfully we had direct flights that were only about 3 hours long. But those last twenty-five minutes, when he was tired and we had to literally hold him down in the seat while he cried and protested, was hard. I felt so bad for him, he just didn't understand why he couldn't get up and run around, why we here holding him down. I told Nerdstar our good deed for the day was making other parents feel good that it wasn't their kid being upset.
So, when we travel now we have to find things Noah can do, or really, places he can run around. And he's not old enough we can go places for kids and just drop him off for a while. And this trip he didn't nap, so earlier in the evening we were all tired and thus nice dinners weren't much of an option.
I asked Nerdstar if other people with toddlers just don't take vacations, or if they drop the kid(s) off with grandparents (which we thought about, but again he's just not quite ready for that). Do people leave their kids in the hotel room with snacks and movies or games and go eat without them?
We know it will get better and better over time. And Noah is so fun to take places right up until that moment when he's not fun at all. Those thirty minutes or so a day we're all too handle each other.
We've known this day was coming, and while we're glad it took this long, we're not really ready.
Noah got all the way out of his crib after we put him down for a nap.
Nerdstar and I were downstairs about to watch a dvd, we got through the previews when we heard a couple of "thuds" from upstairs. Huh? We looked at each other and hoped we hadn't heard what we heard. We didn't hear anything else for a few minutes. Then we thought we heard Noah say something. Uh oh. A couple of minutes later - more footsteps. Yep, he was just standing at the top of the stairs.
We're pretty sure we've got to change his crib now - it converts to a bed with one really short side and the rest still the regular crib. We'd hate for him to twist his knee or ankle while getting out. Although, he seems to be fairly careful when we watched him do it the second time we put him down for a nap.
The only saving grace is that because of the child safety thing in his bedroom door, he can get out of bed, but he can't get out of his room. We've long imagined him finally figuring out how to get out of his crib and then coming down the stairs to come find us or something in the dark. Although, he's not a big fan of the dark.
We put him down for a nap one last time, because he really was tired. Then we left and closed his door. Yep, he got out one more time and then played mostly quietly in his room for over an hour.
So. Nap times and bed times are about to be a lot of fun. I don't have too much trouble getting him to take naps. But now that he'll be able to get in and out of bed - who knows. I guess it'll be a policy of "nap" time - you stay in bed or your room until I come and get you. But it's much harder for Nerdstar to get him to sleep at night. No idea how that will ever work. We'll have to see.
We're looking forward to being woken up to the sounds of him playing at who knows what hours of the night/morning - especially if he decides to turn up the volume on his keyboard!